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New Teams Old Faces: Bolts Take on the Rangers For the First Time Since Blockbuster Trade
By Jake Ricker
Tonight it’s the Tampa Bay Lightning (46-17-4) taking on the New York Rangers (30-31-6). The Bolts will look to continue their recent success, while the Rangers will look to bounce back from a 3-0 loss to the Jets. This will be the 2nd time these two teams face off with the first meeting ending in a 2-1 Rangers overtime victory. The Bolts will look to even the series score while the Rangers will look to take a 2-0 sires lead. Tonight will be the first time these two teams have met since the big trade at the trade deadline, making it a big night for Vladdy and Miller. Let’s take a look at the game plan for these two teams as they get set to square off.
Tampa’s Outlook and Past
The Bolts have won 4 of their last 5 games scoring 22 goals over that span. The Bolts went yet again into extra time, making it the 6th straight time the Bolts had to go into OT. They will look to end this one in regulation and tighten down their defense. The Bolts are currently ranked 3rd in the league in power play percentage (24.2%). They will look to continue this success tonight despite facing the Rangers who are ranked 7th in the PK department (82.8%). This is the third game of an 8 game homestand for the Bolts. They will look to maintain their top spot in the league with another win tonight.
Three Keys To The Game
1. Aggressive Defense
Defense hasn’t been great lately and things need to change.
2. Keep the Lead
Too many games have been blown leads and sloppy effort in 3rd periods.
3. No New Friends
The return of Vladdy will be emotional. We know how good he is, so contain him.
Killorn – Stamkos – Kucherov
Gourde – Point – Miller
Conacher – Johnson – Callahan
Erne – Cirelli – Kunitz
Hedman – Girardi
Sergachev – Stralman
Coburn – Sustr
Andrei Vasilevskiy: 39-12-3 GAA: 2.44 SV%: .925 (Confirmed)
Ondrej Palat (1-2 Weeks)
Ryan McDonagh (Day to Day)
Peter Budaj (Week to Week)
New York’s Outlook and Past
The Rangers have had a crazy season with multiple big-name players being shipped out at the trade deadline but are still 7 points out of the playoffs. The Rangers have won 3 of their last 5 games scoring 14 goals over that span. The Rangers are ranked 14th overall on the power play (20.6%) and will look to use that to their advantage as they take on the Bolts who are ranked 24th (77.4%) in the PK department. this will be the star of a short two game road trip for the Rangers before they head back home. The Rangers will look to gain some ground on the last wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference with a win tonight.
Three Keys To The Game
Zibanejad is the top scorer for the Rangers who has a total of 19 goals. The Rangers will need some guys to step up if they want to beat the top scoring team in the league.
2. Lundqvist’s world
Lundqvist continues to be the face of the Rangers, get behind him and give him some support.
3. Old friend
Just as the Bolts are with Vladdy, the Rangers need to use their knowledge of Miller to their advantage
Kreider – Zibanejad – Buchnevich
Spooner – Hayes – Fast
Vesey – Namestnikov – Zuccarello
Mcleod – Desharnais – Carey
Skjei – Gilmour
Staal – Pionk
O’Gara – Deangelo
Henrik Lundqvist 25-22-5 GAA: 2.88 SV%: .916 (Unconfirmed)
Kevin Shattenkirk (Out Indefinitely)
Ondrej Pavelec (Day to Day)
Steven Kampfer (Day to Day)